Biomass energy

Biomass energy is a collective term for energy from all organic materials found in nature. Biomass can be used to generate renewable energy. Woody biomass is often used for this purpose. For example, the use of:

  • A-wood
  • Prunings
  • Wood pellets

In addition, other forms of biomass such as straw and compost are also suitable for energy production.

In the Netherlands, the production of energy from biomass is encouraged by the national government. The biomassa subsidies take place in two ways. For large-scale installations of 500 kW and above, subsidies are given on the energy produced per kWh. This is facilitated with the SDE++ subsidy (de SDE++ subsidie). 

Small installations can use the ISDE subsidy (de ISDE subsidie). This is an investment subsidy, where part of the investment is subsidized. 

In this article you can read all about the possibilities of energy from biomass for you as an entrepreneur. 

How does energy from biomass work?

Biomass can be used to produce energy in different ways. The classic form involves burning the biomass, where the heat is transferred to a medium such as steam or water by means of a boiler. Here steam or hot water can be supplied directly, but there are also possibilities to (first) generate electricity. 

There is also the possibility of converting biomass to gaseous components under high pressure and temperature. This is called gasification. This technique has been proven in practice and the first commercial plants are currently being developed. 

What gases are released depends on the temperature at which gasification is carried out. These gases can be burned or converted to methane-rich gas with post-treatment.

When is energy from biomass interesting?

The application of energy from biomass is particularly interesting if you have a large heat demand or if there are plans that will result in a larger heat demand. To be eligible for the SDE+ subsidy, gas consumption should be considered from approximately 120,000 m³ of gas per year. 

It is also important that there is room to install the boiler and biomass storage. Here wood pellets are more favorable in terms of use of space, because they can also be stored in silos. In a number of cases, you also need to apply for a permit (vergunning) to construct a biomass-fired plant.

What forms of biomass energy are there?

From the subsidy scheme, there are different types of biomass plants that fall into a different category based on the fuel, application and/or power. The conditions and subsidy amounts depend on this classification.

For example, the ISDE subsidy distinguishes between pellet-fired boilers and boilers or other forms of biomass. The maximum capacity of the installation (per boiler) is 499 kW.

The SDE+ subsidy distinguishes between the following categories:

  • Boilers with a capacity of up to 5 MW
  • Boilers with a capacity > 5 MW
  • Industrial steam production based on wood pellets
  • Direct use of wood pellets in burners or furnaces
  • Gasification of biomass for green gas

Wood stove

A wood stove is a biomass plant with less than 5 MW capacity. These installations are often used in locations where the heat demand is average. Examples include:

  • Swimming pools
  • Poultry farms
  • Greenhouse horticulture 

In many cases you can apply for the SDE++ subsidy for a wood-burning stove. When the capacity is lower than 499 kW, you are eligible for the ISDE subsidy.


A biomass plant refers to all installations with a capacity of more than 5 MW. These are large installations that produce a lot of heat. This is often used in industrial areas, where the heat demand is high. 

Generating energy from biomass

Are you planning to generate energy from biomass, for example by installing a wood-burning stove or realizing a biomass power plant? Then we would be happy to help you. Our consultants will help you understand the potential for biomass energy in your situation. Then we will guide you through all the processes necessary to achieve a successful project.

Biomass energy and Ekwadraat in figures


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